There is nothing to the world but the here and now, that there is nothing more to humanity than consciousness and fumbling molecules and the sheer will to live. That we have seventy, maybe eighty, years of ourselves, and then the atoms rearrange and we leave behind an eternity of dust. We flare, each one of us, brief and bright and alone in our minds, and in our instant of a life, we grasp at connection. We are human; we thrive on connections. We survive on it.
It’s futile, really; true connection, the complete comprehension of the mind of another, is impossible. In all of my life, I will never truly see or know another being, and I will never truly be seen or known. Pure thought and pure emotion are bursts of lightning, and language is the wire that harnesses them. It can carry only a semblance of the real thing, only a slowed-down, tempered flow. It can’t transfer experience; but it can transfer the record of it. If you’ll excuse the clichéd metaphor, each of us is an island, and books are messages tucked into sea-tossed bottles.
I read because language is beautiful, because Fitzgerald’s words seem to glimmer against the heat and because Hemingway’s are bone-dry and clean as windblown dust. I read because I can’t help but read. Because it’s beautiful, but beyond that, because it’s real. Because though language is only a wire, wires can build circuits.